Concerned riders leave town hall meeting on possible L train shutdown unsatisfied

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WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn — Some call the L Train the "lifeblood" of their Brooklyn Communities, which is why they were gasping for air after word got out that repairs could derail the only train in their neighborhood for up to three years.

Concerned citizens hosted a town hall meeting in Williamsburg Thursday morning, but left with just as many questions as they came with.

"Do you have a timetable for us?" one attendee asked at the meeting.

"Not at this time," MTA representative Andrew Ingelsby responded.

"Any vague timetable?"


"Is there a chance we could get a debriefing from the engineering team as to what they're evaluating without a decision being made?"

"I'll take that back to my colleagues."

Ingelsby had almost no information about an L-train shutdown for concerned residents and business owners at the Thursday meeting.

No explanation as to what repairs might be needed. No Timetable on when work might start. And no word on how long any repairs might last.

The only thing the rep could tell people in the audience is that MTA was not ready for the information to go public.

"Quite frankly that's what it was. It was a press leak before we could, we have any decisions to share with the community." Inglesby said. "One of the reasons we have not come to the community immediately is because we are looking internally and externally for as many mitigating factors as possible."

"The fact that the MTA is sitting on information and not sharing whatever it is they do know, whatever considerations it is they're weighing and evaluating is shocking, upsetting and unacceptable to all tax payer," Felice Kirby, member of Brooklyn Allied Bars and Restaurants and the "L Train Coalition," said.

The L train could be forced to stop running between Brooklyn and Manhattan to repair damage from Hurricane Sandy in the Canarsie Tunnel," according to reports.

If that happens, the line would likely stop running at Bedford Avenue, leaving many of the 300,000 daily riders looking for another way to get to the city.

"Think about the Bedford Avenue L train stop on a Tuesday morning at 8:30," Councilman Stephen Levin said. "Think about what that would like like if there was no way to get into Manhattan. It would be chaos."

"We deserve to know what is wrong with this system," Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Carlo Scissura said.

Some businesses owners said they wouldn't survive the shutdown.

"I would have to close, clear and simple," Black Bear Bar owner Jessica Wertz said. "There's no way around it."

With no information or help from the MTA, Kirby and the rest of the coalition are calling on lawmakers to get involved while they consider other options. They're hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.

"We very resourceful, we're very scrappy," Kirby said. "We're a neighborhood that has struggled for decades and we are not going to go quietly into the dark night of no viable transportation."

The MTA already shutdown the Montague Tunnel to make repairs from Sandy-related damage. That route has about 65,000 riders per day and alternative train lines to transfer to at multiple stations. Repairs on that tunnel took a little more than a year.

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